Born a Catholic in the early years of the Protestant reign of Elizabeth I, Philips was a chorister at St. Paul's Cathedral under the protection of a Catholic chorus master until the latter's death and the horrors of the Irish Rebellion persuaded him to remove himself to Rome, where he spent three years as student and organist. After traveling in Europe for five years, Philips settled in Brussels, married, fathered a child, and, as he later wrote, "mainteyned him self by teaching of children of the virginals, being very cunning thereon." Four years later, Philips traveled to Amsterdam to hear Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck, the great Dutch keyboard player who had written a set of variations on a theme from Philips's first Pavane. After the deaths of his wife and child, he became a priest and died. He should provide a rich subject for Utterback's imagination.
[Review published June 2007]